Breakfast Serial .03: Third Wheel

Bleeder is now Spatter.

Here is the archive.

And, here is part three:

“Ugh,” Spatter spat, as she stumbled into the hallway, closing the classroom door gingerly behind her.

“That bad, huh?” DeathGrip sat on the floor against the opposite wall, knees up, a book resting against them.

“I just failed the shit out of that test.” The seventeen-year-old girl crossed the hallway, slipped off her backpack, and slid down the wall.

“That sucks.” The eighteen-year-old flipped the page of her drugstore paperback.

“And, let me guess: You nailed it like Christ to the cross.” The Chinese teen shot her legs out straight and smoothed her black skirt across her thighs, for modesty’s sake.

“Lovely visual.” The Argentine teen fished a flask — matte black, embossed with a skull and crossbones — out of her jacket’s inner pocket and took a swig.

“The Catholic Church seems to like it, yeah.” Spatter turned a blind eye to the imbibing. “God, I hate this class. Who cares whether a rock’s igneous, sedimentary, or mesozoic?”

DeathGrip dotted her mouth dry with a sleeve. “Metamorphic.”

“See? Don’t care.” The Asian girl wrapped a loose thread from her skirt’s hemline around her finger and severed it with her thumbnail. “Now, history? That’s a subject I can get behind. Sex, violence, double-crossings, coups, incest, bizarre religious rituals, evil step-siblings — it’s like a soap without all the terrible dialogue.”

“Or a dirty Disney movie.” The Latina dog-eared a page, before closing her novel.

“Where’s the drama in Earth science? Even biology’s got more life to it.” Spatter ran a frustrated hand through her hair, then smoothed her side-bangs back into place.

Both girls’ cellphones buzzed in unison. “Speaking of drama…” DeathGrip snagged her cell from her the front-left pocket of her dark, skinny jeans, while the Chinese girl fumbled for hers in the darkness of her book-bag. The Latina flipped open the phone and skimmed the text: “Briefing in ten. Let’s roll.”

Lights flashed. Sirens blared. Rubber burned. Three squad cars were in pursuit of a white van that showed no signs of stopping.

Claptrap, hunching forward, on the edge of his seat, white-knuckled the steering wheel with one hand. His other tore away his false beard, revealing a jack-o’-lantern smile of twisted lips and polycarbonate teeth. His wide-eyes gobbled up the highway ahead. His right foot held the gas pedal at his mercy. His left thumped like a jackrabbit, matching the beat of his racing heart. He wanted so badly to laugh maniacally.

Kickstand, riding shotgun as usual, turned to address the men in the back. “What’s our ammunition situation?”

“I’m all out of explosive ordinance.” An undercurrent of depression colored Monkeybrain’s words.

“But, we got guns.” Enthusiasm was overt in Bo Peep’s.

“I don’t think these doors are gonna withstand any return fire, cap.” Concern, this time, marred the thin man’s speech.

“Then, don’t miss” was the leader’s only instruction.

The man with the artificial ram’s horns jutting from his head popped open the metal-plated chest that sat between him and his thin accomplice. In one swift action, he swooped up an M16A4 assault rifle, loaded it, and smashed its butt through the window of the back door on his side of the vehicle. A barrage of bullets followed the trajectory established by the shattered glass.

The lead police cruiser swerved to avoid getting hit, never slowing. Bullets ricocheted across asphalt and the second cop car’s hood.

Monkeybrain mimicked Bo Peep’s movements and took careful aim at the second squad car’s tires, blowing them out. The driving officer struggled to course correct, scraping the front bumper against the highway’s cement median strip. He gritted his teeth, pumping the breaks. Sparks flew like a tiny fireworks display. He pulled the emergency break and sighed, as the car finally slowed. “Whew,” he managed to utter to his partner, before both of their heads were resized by bullets.

“Fuck.” The officer in the passenger seat of the third car fought back vomit and tears at the sight of the carnage. He drew his weapon, rolled down his window, and returned fire. Bullets clinked along the back bumper of the van. “Can’t this thing go any faster?!”

“We’re already doing 80!” The female officer shoved her foot harder into the gas pedal, a grimace outlining her features.

The officer ducked his head out the window and, with both hands, steadied the gun. He took careful aim and fired a tight cluster around the lock holding the van’s swinging doors in place. The handle gave out, and the door in front of Monkeybrain swung open.

“SHIT!” The thin gunman jumped backward, hitting the back of Kickstand’s seat. Bullets sailed inside the van’s cabin.

“Get down!” The head of the quartet palmed the top of Monkeybrain’s cranium and shoved it downward, crumpling the shooter. “Get. Down.”

Bo Peep reached for the open door — and came back a fingertip short. “Mother of fuck!”

Kickstand leapt over his seat. “Move.” He shoved Monkeybrain out of the way, grabbing his gun in the process. Laying on his stomach, he opened fire, drilling holes in the officer dangling from the passenger side of the third car.

“No!” The female officer grabbed her partner by the belt and yanked him back in. Blood pooled in the seat. He gurgled something incomprehensible, then bobbled forward. She grabbed her gun, shot out her own windshield, and returned fire. A bullet grazed Kickstand’s buzzcut and lodged itself in the back of the passenger seat.

“You all right, boss?” Bo Peep didn’t wait for an answer before giving the female officer a new set of dimples. Her molars exploded in an orgy of crimson and ivory. But, she kept coming. She kept firing. “Bitch is crazy,” the linebacker lookalike announced to no one in particular.

Kickstand lined up a shot directly with her left eye. He took a deep breath, held it, and…the first cruiser barreled into the van, shoving it against the median. Cement scraped white paint. The head of the gunmen fired randomly, missing his mark. Claptrap spun the wheel hard, driving the van into the squad car, but the driving officer was relentless. Holding his steering wheel steadfastly with one hand, the cop rolled down his window and reclined his chair, giving his partner a clear shot. He took it. The passenger-side window of the van burst open. Bullets poured inside, denting the canopy and spider-webbing the windshield.

Claptrap leaned against his door, trying to stay out of harm’s way, while still driving. A bullet clipped his right wrist. Blood spurted. He released that hand from the wheel and latched on to the wound with his mouth. “Somebody gimme a fucking gun!”

Monkeybrain, rifle in hand, maneuvered his torso onto the passenger seat in the van and started firing at — and through — the door. The driver of the squad car, still reclined, smashed the breaks. Bullets zipped across three lanes and disappeared into dense foliage.

The female cop drove the third car into position beside the first, and all three remaining officers opened fire with fresh ammo. Bo Peep provided cover fire, emptying his clip. Kickstand targeted the third car’s right front wheel. He got off a shot, but she swerved and returned fire, taking a chunk of his ear. He rolled behind the still-closed door, as Bo Peep reloaded. Monkeybrain twisted back into the back of the van and launched a volley at the lead car, splintering its windshield.

“This thing’s more pear-shaped than the fat lady.” The twisted grin was long absent from Claptrap’s artificial facade. “And, that chubby chick’s gotta be warming up by now.”

“Just keep driving,” Kickstand barked, assessing his ear. A good third of it was gone, but he’d live. The head of the gunmen rolled back into sight and started puncturing holes in the third squad car’s hood. The female officer ducked and floored it. Bullets whirred overhead, mincing her headrest.

A mangled “move!” escaped her bleeding, half-gone mouth, her mandible hanging on for dear life. She shoved her foot down harder on the gas, snapping toes. The speedometer entered the red. The car bolted, smashing into the back of the van in a hail of gunfire. Her airbag deployed, only to be shot open and deflated. She looked up to see the muzzle of Bo Peep’s rifle. It was the last thing she’d see.

Her head landed on the steering wheel, slamming the horn. Her foot remained on the gas, her car attached to the back of the van. Kickstand moved from his stomach to a crouch and drove his artificial leg into her bumper. It took five kicks before finally dislodging. The squad car bounced off the pavement, throwing the deceased driver’s foot off the gas. The cruiser landed with a thud and slowed to a crawl.

The remaining vehicle swerved out around the crushed cruiser, and the officers opened fire anew. “Where the hell is back-up?!” the driver demanded.

As if to answer, a topless jeep barreled down the highway, chasing the chase. A man with glistening skin stood on the passenger side, one foot resting against the dash. He hefted a bazooka over his shoulder and fired the trigger. The rocket caught up with the remaining squad car in a blink. The explosion couldn’t be missed.

Claptrap’s grin was back. “Hail, hail, the gang’s all here!”

LiveFeed, Wavelength, and Tantric — dressed in identical black-and-white jackets and pants — rushed into the small theater that doubled as a briefing room and took seats as close to Mr. Popular as possible. A lone figure paced on stage, behind a podium and in front of a drawn screen, on which the crest of the Academy for the Advanced was displayed.

“Ten-Sec!” the faux-hawked Wavelength shouted at the man on stage, who promptly stopped pacing. “How’s my favorite Home Ec instructor?”

“Impatient.” He stepped to the podium and grabbed the remote that waited there. “You guys have got to work on your response time. Twenty minutes from call-to-action to arrival is way too long.”

“They were showing me where to get my uniform,” the pudgy pupil piped up.

“Congratulations, Tantric. You found your closet.” The thirty-year-old former chef dimmed the lights with the remote. “I’ll let it slide this time, but there better not be a next time, savvy?”

The tardy trio sunk into their seats, offering a few defeated “yeah”s.

“Good. Now.” The Ten-Second Rule clicked the remote again, this time changing the visual on the screen to a shot of Gavin Industrial Park. “Two hours ago, the Werner-Roth Fertility Clinic, located here” — a click of the remote produced an arrow on screen, pointing out the building — “in this industrial complex, was attacked. A firefight ensued. The clinic ultimately exploded.” A click, revealing an aerial view of the wreckage: one building bombed out completely, half a dozen more rendered structurally unsound at best, splotches of red that used to be bodies throughout. “Seventy-three dead. Another sixteen injured — most of them gravely.”

“Some kind of anti-abortion nut?” Spatter wondered. “Another White Rabbit?”

“We’re not that lucky.” Another click, revealing a grainy still from the security check point of two men sitting in the front of a white van. “This was taken ten minutes prior to the explosion. We’ve identified the driver as Chester Garza, formerly Chester the Chewer, a competitive eater whose jaw snapped in half ten bites into a brisket bout, two Passovers ago. He’s gotten a taste for trouble since. Still got the same gut, though. The man in the hat to Garza’s right is — we believe — Warfield Matthers, a Second Lieutenant in the Army dishonorably discharged for sexually assaulting a school teacher in Afghanistan. Her class was still in session. The aircraft escorting him home was hit by a surface-to-air missile. He was the sole survivor, only losing a leg.

“Both men are known customers of The Body Shop, where evil goes for upgrades. We have no means of telling how many accomplices these two may have had in their operation, as CCTV footage was lost in the blast. We do, however, believe they were not working alone.”

“Um…” The diminutive senior, still sporting the welding goggles that spiked up her bangs, raised a tentative hand. “What were these guys after?”

“I thought you’d never ask, Wireframe.” The Ten-Second Rule smiled, dimpling his stubble. “This.” A click, revealing an image of a vial, marked “2577CFG”. “Every year, The Pinnacle, leader of California’s Vitruvian Men and People’s Most Genetically Perfect Man Alive sixteen years running, donates two — ahem — samples of his DNA to the government. One is studied and dissected, for use in creating antibodies and vaccines to combat disease. The other is sent to a randomly selected fertility clinic, to be used as donor material for women looking to put buns in their Easy Bakes. Think of it as the ultimate genetic lottery. Only, uh, instead of the ‘Mega Millions’, you get a kid with a ninety-seven percent chance of superpowers.”

“Wait.” Wavelength blinked. “These dudes stole spooge?!”

“The most sought-after spooge on the planet, yeah.” The instructor’s dimples deepened. “And, it’s your job to retrieve it.” A click, revealing a road map and another arrow. “The white van was last seen heading north on I-25 in Glendo. Three police squad cars were in pursuit. We haven’t received any word from them since calling for back-up half an hour ago.”

A sobering silence consumed the students.

“Don’t let them get to Canada.” The Ten-Second Rule, stern-faced once more, clicked the remote one last time, returning the screen to the image of the school’s crest. “Cortex, you’re taking lead on this one.”

The bullet-riddled van, with one back door still swinging loose, pulled into a shady spot at the end of a busy parking lot. The quartet of thieves-turned-gunmen filed out, stretching their limbs and checking their wounds. The topless jeep, carrying five similarly augmented men, pulled up beside it.

“What’s the plan, boss-man?” the jeep’s driver, a man with muttonchops and entirely too much saliva, questioned Kickstand.

“We lay low here.” The leader of the troop marched toward the oversized discount department store at the other end of the parking lot.

“What do you want us to do about the van?” The man with the artificial skin jumped out of the jeep, bazooka still in hand.

“Torch it.” Kickstand didn’t even bother glancing over his shoulder to give the order.

“Looks like it’s Christmas at Kmart.” Claptrap clamped his injured wrist, as he shuffled after the man in charge.

“Good.” Monkeybrain unzipped his jumpsuit to the waistline and pulled his lanky arms free. “I need new underwear.”

Category: Breakfast Serial

8 Responses to “Breakfast Serial .03: Third Wheel”

  1. H.H. Neville

    This is improving greatly as you go along. The characters become more individual, more vivid. You’ve obviously got a great ear for lively banter, and it shows in spades hear, especially the opening sequence between Spatter and DeathGrip.

    Fuck Earth science, history indeed!

    Anyway, this seems the most action oriented pieces of the three (each having little bits before) and the action is written best here, but sometimes I think it’s played too safe, too matter-of-factly, at least for my liking.

    That said, this:

    You all right, boss?” Bo Peep didn’t wait for an answer before giving the female officer a new set of dimples. Her molars exploded in an orgy of crimson and ivory. But, she kept coming. She kept firing. “Bitch is crazy,” the linebacker lookalike announced to no one in particular.

    Was effing beautiful. Channel this, and you’ll be right back on your game, for serious.

    It seemed that after that paragraph, you hit a serious stride in the action anyway, fluid and fun to read.

    Anyway, digging the characters for sure. Digging the stolen property.

    Pinnacle, eh?

    Oh, and Ten-Second-Rule…seriously genius name, that.

  2. kink

    Thank you kindly, sir.

    I know what you mean about the action. I got tired of writing “bullets” and “blood” in a hurry. I’ll metaphor it up in the future.

  3. Tom Moses

    As Neville said, I have to agree metaphor it up and you’re back in business to the fullest. But there were so many things I liked about this session and one of my favorite ideas that I can’t wait to see you explore is “The Bodyshop, where evil goes for upgrades!”

  4. Tom Moses

    oh and yeah, Spatter is great too.

  5. kink

    Thank you kindly also.

    I dunno if The Body Shop itself will appear any time soon, but you’ll get a pretty good idea of what all the upgrades do next weekend, if all goes to plan.

  6. Derrick

    Very cool action stuff in this installment. Just enough to give me a nice little rush but you didn’t skimp on the characterization and some of the one-liners are priceless.

  7. kink

    Thanks for the kind words, D.

    And thanks for the plug on your LiveJournal. I totally wasn’t expecting that.

  8. derek

    sarasate@emergencies.quirking” rel=”nofollow”>.…


Leave a Reply

Back to top